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Trust in the village of tomorrow

In a small village in the hills of Portugal, there are three shoemakers living and working. They are the last of their profession. Together they have a total of 250 years’ experience. They tell stories about their occupation from six generations. But when asked about the future, they shrug their shoulders, shake their heads, and say nothing. They look in embarrassment at their shoes and are silent. That is the situation in a village where even two generations ago there were still 12,000 people living, and where there are now less than 3,000. The old people get buried and the …

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Heini and the Noah’s Ark

Heini Staudinger (62) is in charge of the GEA – Waldviertel factory, where he has been putting an ecological and sustainable economy model into practice since 1984. This alternative entrepreneur never trusted the banking systems, nor the global economy, and his investments have been made through private financing. Heini comes over as a kind of prophet, not a religious one but one of action, who regards his company as a Noah’s Ark in the current economic system. ECO123: Do you believe in an ecological economy? HS: Everything that is not working towards that is stupid. To believe in an economy that …

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Licence To Spill?

When we talk about the sea, it’s mostly about beaches, holidays, the weather or grilled fish for the lunch table. But we have never given any thought to a small, somewhat faded, yellow plastic duck which reached the shores of Carrapateira in the municipality of Aljezur in August 2004, because we didn’t hear about it. Newspapers don’t earn any money from such stories. But if plastic ducks could talk, this little children’s toy would have had many stories to tell of its world trip lasting approximately 12 years. World trip? The story starts on 10th January 1992 on the container …

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Fisherman Zeca Àguas

That’s the way life is

Interview with the fisherman Zeca Águas (55), from Portimão. ECO123: Nowadays, when you observe the amount of fish in the sea and compare it with a generation ago, do you notice any differences? Zeca Águas: According to my experience of 15 years ago, both in terms of my studies or from what I can see with my eyes, including soundings, we have 75% less fish today. Many species are affected because no one has been concerned about them until today – only now. For the first time, last year, they took the trouble to introduce a closed season. They didn’t …

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Submarino JAGO, GEOMAR

The End of the Oceans?

Interview with Prof. Mojib Latif (61) GEOMAR, Kiel in Germany   ECO123: We produce a magazine in which we always try to bring economics and ecology together. Do you think that can work? Mojib Latif: Yes, I am sure that can work. People talk a lot today about sustainability, an expression that is already very overused. I think the expression should rather be interpreted by the media as future viability. If it is understood in this way, then you can see straight away that economics and ecology are not opposites, rather they can only function together. Unfortunately we are currently …

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Planting in the sea

The huge vastness of the sea contains immeasurable riches which human beings exploit in search of answers to their questions. In addition, 18 of the world’s 21 megacities(1) are located beside the sea, and it is currently estimated that 340 million people are living in them – who need food. And, what if the answer to the question of food production for people in the big cities and elsewhere lay on the surface of the sea itself? It was with this in mind that four design students in London, Idress Rasouli, Roshan Sirohia, Jason Cheah and Sebastiaan Wolzak, created the …

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WAVES. Energy with a future

Studying issues to do with the production and consumption of energy (and reporting on them, as ECO123 is doing in this article) is an experience that is very similar to observing the waves in the sea. There is a kind of oscillation between positive information and negative data, between reasons for optimism and causes for concern. At a pivotal moment for the future of the planet, we urgently need to draw conclusions from the huge amount of information available, and, above all, decide on and implement measures. So that, instead of drowning in the ocean of consumption in which we …

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unconditional basic income

An eco-tax to finance the unconditional basic income

Revolution or evolution? The dilemma between making a new beginning and continuing with what exists is a basic question in every decision. The Portuguese social state is in a dangerously difficult situation. More than two million people (20% of the population) live below the subsistence level. The state’s debt mountain is also extremely high. Treating the symptoms is no longer enough. Sometimes it becomes clear that clinging on to old structures will certainly lead into the abyss. There’s no point in stabilising the walls, when the whole house starts to slide. Then what is needed is a new build. A …

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Does money make you happy?

Part 2) by Theobald Tiger How do we regard Portugal and the world in this context, when we investigate the situation of people? Do we have the impression that our society and our governments constructively promote the abilities of the individual? If we talk about the unconditional basic income (UBI) and imagine that we would be able to live without material need in the future, that would be a building block for the promotion and the basis of what people need to be able to develop more freely: in education, in experiencing cultural and ethical values such as compassion, friendship …

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The TTIP/CETA story

Every day, goods worth 2.5 billion euros are traded between the USA and the European Union, mostly with duty of around four percent of the value of the goods. That is why, towards the end of this year, a free trade agreement by the name of TTIP is to be concluded between the two economic powers, and another known as CETA between Canada and the EU. But why are the 312 million US citizens, 35 million Canadians and 504 million Europeans kept at an informal distance? Why are the USA, Canada and the EU negotiating this economic agreement in secret? …

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